3 years ago

Alpine bogs of southern Spain show human-induced environmental change superimposed on long-term natural variations

Patricia Ruano, Gonzalo Jiménez-Moreno, María J. Ramos-Román, Antonio García-Alix, Jaime L. Toney, Junichiro Kuroda, R. Scott Anderson, Antonio Delgado Huertas, Ignasi Queralt, Francisco J. Jiménez-Espejo
Recent studies have proved that high elevation environments, especially remote wetlands, are exceptional ecological sensors of global change. For example, European glaciers have retreated during the 20th century while the Sierra Nevada National Park in southern Spain witnessed the first complete disappearance of modern glaciers in Europe. Given that the effects of climatic fluctuations on local ecosystems are complex in these sensitive alpine areas, it is crucial to identify their long-term natural trends, ecological thresholds, and responses to human impact. In this study, the geochemical records from two adjacent alpine bogs in the protected Sierra Nevada National Park reveal different sensitivities and long-term environmental responses, despite similar natural forcings, such as solar radiation and the North Atlantic Oscillation, during the late Holocene. After the Industrial Revolution both bogs registered an independent, abrupt and enhanced response to the anthropogenic forcing, at the same time that the last glaciers disappeared. The different response recorded at each site suggests that the National Park and land managers of similar regions need to consider landscape and environmental evolution in addition to changing climate to fully understand implications of climate and human influence.

Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-07854-w

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-07854-w

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